Excerpt: Travel Agent Terry Denton tells us about his “preferred” stay at Secrets the Vine resort in Cancun, Mexico.
Those familiar with the resort destination Cancun probably know that Cancun proper is roughly shaped like the number seven. Here is a rather tightly compressed picture of Cancun looking south showing the seven inverted.
Also, those who grew up playing Monopoly are very familiar with the prized pieces of real estate called Boardwalk and Park Place. Sadly, these board locations are the scene of several avaricious and ultimately disastrous monopoly plays on my part. Notwithstanding Gordon Gekko’s famous assertion, trust me, dear reader, greed is not always good!
So how are these two seemingly random facts connected? About midway down the hotel corridor (i.e., the middle part of the seven) is a stretch of prized real estate that constitutes the Boardwalk / Park Place of Cancun. Within a short distance, you will find such upscale resorts as Ritz Carlton, Sandos Cancun and J.W. Marriott. In the midst of these iconic names is the brand new (opened August, 2012) Secrets The Vine, part of the Secrets Resort and Spa collection owned by AMResorts.
Does Secrets The Vine truly belong in such lofty surroundings? I just returned from a personal stay there and after reading this blog post I hope you will agree with me that Secrets The Vine is every bit a worthy neighbor.
Why I Prefer To Be Preferred
While upgrading to Preferred Club status is by no means necessary for a very enjoyable stay, having sampled the preferred category, I would have to say it is well worth the modest cost. Using my favorite currency equivalent, for a four night stay it is no more that a couple of weeks worth of Grande, French Vanilla, Skinny Lattes at Starbucks. Think of it as taking luxury up a notch.
For example, when you step off the elevator on your preferred floor, you are greeted by a smiling butler. I tried to explain to Jonathan that it was not necessary to stand up and salute each time I entered the floor. The modest red carpet I supplied him to roll out and his occasional reference to me as “Your Eminence” were quite sufficient. As you can tell, I don’t like a big fuss made over me. In fact, I take great pride in my humility.
When you are initially led to your room, your butler provides you a detailed description of the services available to you such as garment pressing, shoe shining, complimentary hydrotherapy privileges at the spa, the private infinity pool on the twelfth floor and the private lounge on the twenty-first floor. For a full list of benefits and options for the Preferred Club status, click here.
Where The Wine Is Divine and the Dining Is Fine
At the risk of being labeled a wine tease, I am going to postpone for a moment telling you where to find out more about the incredible wine experiences available at this resort. Let’s focus first on the dining options. There was a time, thankfully long since past, when eating at an all-inclusive resort meant three endless buffets a day. Now, deluxe properties like Secrets The Vine afford a wide variety of venues and cuisine. Click here for a quick list of the choices available at this resort.
I must admit that on more than one occasion I savored the ceviche at the Sea Salt Grill. They offer several varieties of ceviche all enhanced by the smell of sea salt wafting over from the nearby beach.
The most touted restaurant by some accounts is the Bluewater Grill. While the food was savory I almost made a fatal mistake, for a man of my limited means anyway, when the waiter offered our table a special selection of wine. While almost everything is included at Secrets The Vine, they do offer the option of special wines by the bottle in the fine restaurants. In my giddy exuberance at being away from the daily drudge, I almost ordered a $110.00 bottle of wine. While that would hardly make some of you blink, I confess it made me blanch! Do you have any idea how many boxes . . . ahem; I mean bottles of wine that would buy back home? I quickly recovered my composure and ordered something a little more modest.
My personal favorite dining spot, however, was Ólio Mediterranean Cuisine. When they say Mediterranean, they don’t just mean the northern half of that great sea. In addition to samplings from Greece and Spain, they provide delicious offerings from Tunisia and Morocco as well.
One of my very favorite moments from my trip was reposing beneath the canopy of a brilliantly lit cloudless sky in this stunning twelfth-floor setting, being caressed by a light ocean breeze while enjoying a fashionably late repast surrounded by convivial companions and lighthearted conversation.
How To Learn More
It just so happens that I have written a couple of other posts regarding other aspects of this little sparkling gem set among other jewels. You can also read the naked truth about my visit to the spa, or you can learn about the guilty pleasures of being ever so slightly over-served.
So next time you find yourself planning a Cancun getaway and the Ritz Carlton or JW Marriott come to mind, take my sage advice and split both the difference and the distance and select the incomparable Secrets The Vine.
Written by Terry Denton, President of Travel Leaders / Main Street Travel